Pride and Politics
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Israel is set to hold its fifth election in less than four years, a surfeit of democracy that is not likely to result in much change unless you are former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Netanyahu was Israel’s longest-serving leader, the BBC explained. He won four elections and held the premiership a total of five times between 2009 and last year on pledges to protect Israel from hostile Palestinians, Arab neighbors, Islamic terrorists, Iran and others. Liberal opposition groups unseated him only after he was charged with corruption. He is on trial. Litigation is expected to take years.
But he has been preparing to run again for the past year.
“A government that depended on terror supporters, which abandoned the personal security of the citizens of Israel, that raised the cost of living to unheard-of heights, that imposed unnecessary taxes, that endangered our Jewish entity. This government is going home,” Netanyahu said in a video posted on Twitter, reported the Washington Post.
The coalition of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett includes so-called “dovish” politicians who support a two-state solution with the Palestinians and an Arab political party that was the first to join an Israeli government, the Associated Press wrote. Bennett dissolved parliament because of fractures in that coalition over Israel’s occupation of Palestine and related issues, Deutsch Welle added.
Netanyahu, meanwhile, has promised to “return national pride to the citizens of Israel.”
Polls indicate that the lion’s share of Israeli voters will cast the same ballots as they have in previous elections, leading to another deadlocked parliament where coalitions will jockey for power, wrote Foreign Policy magazine. Netanyahu hopes to capitalize on the chaos and political wheeling and dealing to come out on top. He still ran the government, after all, when he couldn’t assemble a majority of seats between 2019 and 2021.
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid has been tapped to replace Bennett. He has been working on his national security bona fides. Recently, Politico wrote, he chastised European diplomats who met with Iranian officials in Tehran to revive talks over a nuclear deal, for example.
Bennett and Lapid’s coalition has seen numerous defections in recent months, argued journalist Chris Mitchell in a Christian Broadcast Network op-ed. Netanyahu can surely pick up a few of them to become allies, especially if he plays up his opposition to Iran and other enemies. Journalist Daniel Williams added that Bennett and Lapid have failed to come up with a new plan to bring peace to Palestine, either. They can offer no alternative to Netanyahu’s hardline stance against a Palestinian state.
A sixth election might already be a done deal.